In 2003 when George W Bush was marshaling support for military intervention in a Middle Eastern country, a broad coalition of antiwar groups united in opposing him. A decade later when President Obama is pushing military intervention in a Middle Eastern country, the anti-war left has either stayed silent or eagerly embraced war. Bush was called a war criminal, burned and hung in effigy and a snuff film was made fantasizing about his assassination. Hollywood celebrities, groups like code pink and the infamous Cindy Sheehan were relentless in their Bush hatred. Obama by contrast not only gets a pass, his action is being praised in many of the same quarters from where Bush was condemned. Obama’s action is a more direct violation of the president’s legal authority than was Bush’s so I don’t know if this is blatant hypocrisy rank partisanship (or perhaps even racism), but it is telling.
When George Bush was preparing to invade Iraq, he built his case around Saddam Hussain’s claims to possess chemical weapons, weapons he had used multiple times in the past. Bush assembled a broad coalition of 30 countries, mostly democracies and secured Congressional authorization and the blessing of the UN. Whatever one thinks of the operation and the lack of a plan for the occupation, Bush made sure his bases were conversed and he had Democrats on board supporting his war. Bush also had a defined if impractical objective: A cosmopolitan, stable democratic Iraq. Obama has none of this. He has a few Arab autocrats on his side plus the Brits and the French. He is launching a war while Congress is out of town and has no UN authorization. Obama is not even pretending to get legal cover for his wars and yet the antiwar movement remains largely silent.
Back in 2013 Obama was arming Al-Qaeda backed Syrian rebels and wanted to launch strikes against Syria to depose Syrian dictator Bashir Assad for using chemical weapons. Now it’s a year later and Obama is launching strikes against some of those same Al-Qaeda affiliated Syrian rebels he armed because they started beheading Americans and putting the footage on YouTube when they took over part of Iraq. Ironically, this new war puts Obama on the same side as Assad and the Shiite government in Iraq against a Sunni insurgency that is also opposed by Iran but has some support within the Sunni Arab states Obama is counting on to help him win it. Get it? Me either?
Obama is launching a war of choice against an organization with little ability to threaten the United States and the same Democrat politicians who rode into Congress opposing Bush’s war are rushing to support Obama’s. The same folks who attacked Bush for launching a potentially destabilizing military action without a fully thought out plan for the consequences suddenly don’t care that Obama is launching a potentially destabilizing military action without a clearly defined enemy, or concept of what we are trying to achieve. The antiwar left wanted Bush tried as a war criminal for launching a legally authorized war but now remain silent on Obama’s completely unauthorized war because they don’t want to criticize the black guy. It’s strange, it’s like they really only care about rooting for their team; not the principles they espouse. Unless it’s just the race thing